by Rabbi Lauren Cohn, Faculty Member and Coleman Parent
This is Micah’s fourth summer as a camper, and by now I’ve gotten used to the feeling of driving back from Cleveland with an incomplete heart. The missing piece is, of course, my boy, who has left me in the red Georgia dust, ready for his favorite month of the year. Even being here and watching for a week as a faculty rabbi, I can only begin to surmise what that month provides him: quality time with his friends who know him better than his friends at school because at camp he feels comfortable being his most authentic self; relationships with college-aged counselors who nurture and love him like their little brother; connections built with other staff members and specialists as they help him to learn and grow; the affection he has for members of the Israeli delegation who infuse camp with their pride; new skills and deepened passions as he experiences the wealth of activities camp offers from art to sports to music; the comfort and love being in an all encompassing Reform Jewish setting gives him; and the peace that comes from living in a bucolic setting and breathing in mountain air.
Even though I know all this – more than that, I want this for Micah — my heart aches when I look at his empty room. So now I’m here doing my faculty thing and watching Micah from a far. It’s a gift for which I’m grateful. I am afforded the luxury of being a fly on the wall and watching my son as he learns to make his way in the world. But it only just occurred to me that when I come back and pick Micah up on the last day of camp, I’m not getting that piece of my heart back. He leaves a part of his heart here – in his friendships and relationships and connections, in his learning and growth and passions, and in his love of Judaism and the comfort and peace that Camp Coleman give him. And every summer, Micah comes back to claim that piece of his heart.